The Dramatic Works of Catherine the Great: Theatre and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Russia, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Dramatic Works of Catherine the Great

Theatre and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Russia, 1st Edition

By Lurana Donnels O'Malley


242 pages

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New in Paperback: 9781138379183
pub: 2019-06-10
Hardback: 9780754656289
pub: 2006-10-28
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pub: 2017-09-29
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The first in-depth study of Catherine the Great's plays and opera libretti, this book provides analysis and critical interpretation of the dramatic works by this eighteenth-century Russian Empress. These works are shown to be remarkable for their diversity, frank satire, topical subject matter, and stylistic innovations. O'Malley reveals comparisons to and influences from European traditions, including Shakespeare and Molière, and sets Catherine in the larger field of Russian literature in the period, further illuminating her relationship to the aesthetic debates of the period. The study investigates how Catherine expressed her social ideas throughout her drama and exploited the stage's power to promote political ideals and ideology. O'Malley sets close textual analysis within an historical framework, analyzing the major plays according to content, style, themes, characters, and relation to Catherine's life and political aims.


’O'Malley offers many insightful details in her textual analysis of Catherine's theatrical productions and leaves no doubt that Catherine's dramatic works belong to the revised canon of Russian and European theater…This is a beautifully and expertly produced book. Black-and-white illustrations enhance this volume's appeal… An appendix provides helpful references to Aleksandr Pypin's edition of Catherine collected works […]; as Catherinian scholarship continues to grow, one hopes that this rare publication will be reissued as well.’ The Russian Review ’This is a major contribution to the voluminous scholarship on Catherine the Great… offers fresh perspectives on her literary preoccupations… O'Malley has every reason to take price in a sterling synthesis based on years of patient research.’ Slavic Review ’The chief merits of this study lie in elegant close readings, careful scholarship and persuasive claims for the complexity, literary style, innovation and inherent playability of Catherine's works for the stage. …[an] excellent study of Catherine's dramatic works, which should be required reading for theatre historians.’ Theatre Research International

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Catherine’s life and writings; Early comedies; Later comedies; The Shakespearean influence; Comic operas; Epilogue; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Lurana Donnels O'Malley is Professor of Theatre at the University of Hawai'i Manoa, USA, where she teaches Theatre History, Dramatic Literature, and Directing. She is also active as a director. In 1998, she translated and edited the first published English-language translations of two of Catherine the Great's comedies.

About the Series

Performance in the Long Eighteenth Century: Studies in Theatre, Music, Dance

Performance in the Long Eighteenth Century: Studies in Theatre, Music, Dance
Focusing on performance culture during the long eighteenth century, this series offers studies of individuals, institutions, forms and trends in all types of cultural performance including theatre, opera, dance, musical performance, and diverse popular entertainments. It is a forum for interdisciplinary work, drawing the debates of historians, musicologists, literary scholars, dance, theatre and opera scholars into a creative symbiosis. The editors welcome studies which are concerned with British, European, and early American cultural history. Studies that concern themselves with theoretical questions surrounding acts of performance during this period are also welcome.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature